Budget of the volunteer programme

One of the most common misconceptions about volunteering is that volunteering is free. It is not even true that many things need to be thought over and prepared only when deciding on receiving volunteers, and then everything goes on on its own, i.e., the volunteers work on their own.
After learning about the operation of a number of organisations, we can say that volunteering is an investment by the organisation that generates more workforce and is demonstrably worth it if it is well managed, meaning that it takes time, energy (i.e., money) to manage it.
With this in mind, let’s look at what the costs and benefits (or advantages) of volunteering can be. In terms of quantification, it is important to emphasise that the revenues and expenditures listed below are intended to aid the transparency of the programme, that is, they also point to cases where we mistakenly believe that just because someone is getting paid in a job you can ask small favours as it costs nothing to the organisation. That is, not every line is specifically about revenues or costs.

Alternative costs and alternative revenues are also listed in the spirit of transparency. Of course, setting up a programme budget is a private matter for every organisation.

Revenue side

Revenues Quantification
Extra working hours We can best grasp the number of hours on the basis of attendance sheets, and we do not overestimate the value of volunteer work in calculating the value used for quantification at the value of HUF 972/hour in the CSO’s 2016 survey. But some use the minimum wage as the basis.  As an example, if we have a team of 30 people who help 10 hours a month, this is worth 30 people × 10 hours × 12 months × HUF 972 = $ 3,499,200.
Extra service If there is a service that the institution can provide because it was done by volunteers as an extra workforce, and may be associated with a service or donation option (even through a collection box), then the proceeds can be credited to the volunteer programme. For example, at the end of free guides, members of the Volunteer Guide Programme were collecting donations in the early 2000s to fund complete restoration of works of art. Some volunteer guide services are provided for a fee.
Returning clients Returning clients are valuable to all organisations, as the revenue they generate does not require extra effort. Be it a museum ticket, a library ticket, or any other service. It is worth keeping an eye on organisational changes brought about by the presence of volunteers, e.g.. growth in the number of visitors, returning visitors, etc., and even if changes are not directly attributable to the volunteer programme as a trigger, they will certainly confirm the need for the presence of volunteers. Percentage can also be used. For example, if you have 30 readers who return every year for a pleasant customer service experience or for lectures given by volunteers, then half of the value of their HUF 1,000 reading ticket will undoubtedly be worth the volunteer programme. This is approx. HUF 15,000 with these values.
Revenues from tenders A volunteer programme is a positive evaluation criterion for many calls and it is often possible to apply with a volunteer programme independently (Lifelong Learning applications, EU). Any revenue generated in this way may in any case help the institution to cover its operating costs.
Donation Sometimes volunteers, when they see the organisation’s limited potential, donate assets to ensure their daily operations. This is also a benefit of the programme.

Expenditure side

Expenditures Quantification
The volunteer coordinator’s wage If the person is coordinating volunteers part-time, their wage can be commensurated. E.g., HUF 150,000 for gross wage and half-time coordinator’s work 150,000 × 12 months × 1.3 (contributions) / 2 (half-time) = HUF 1,170,000.
Reimbursement Volunteers  may be reimbursed by law,  but the institution’s financial resources may further limit this:

·                work clothing, protective equipment and material

·                travel, accommodation and meals necessary for the performance of activities

·                vaccination, screening, etc. to ensure the safe provision of volunteering.

·                costs of extra-curricular training,

·                ensuring the nutrition, care and training of animals necessary for the performance of volunteering in the public interest

·                providing the volunteer with the conditions required for operating the equipment owned or used by the volunteer for the purpose of carrying out the volunteering in the public interest, and reimbursement of their certified costs

·                the life, health and accident insurance of the volunteer in the event of volunteering in the public interest, their life, health and accident insurance, as well as the compensation for the damage caused by the volunteer and the personal injury violation liability insurance and its premium,

·                in the case volunteering undertaken in the public interest abroad, the daily subsistence allowance when its amount does not exceed twenty per cent of the monthly minimum wage.

Rewards  The rewards given to volunteers are worthwhile (and legally required) to be kept throughout the year.   This includes possibilities for participation free, entry tickets, books and more. It is worth paying special attention to the relevant section of the law due to its tax implications:

The reward given to a volunteer for volunteering in the public interest, provided that its annual amount does not exceed twenty per cent of the relevant monthly minimum wage.

Tools Here you can list all the tools you need to get volunteers to work, like a computer (if you bought one), a chair (if you had to buy a new one), a desk if you had to make a new one, paper and print cartridges used, etc.
Communication We usually look for solutions that are available free of charge. See reference to this in the Communication section. However, the eventual flyer making may involve costs, or we may have used graphic artist’s help to design a nice call (unless there is one among our volunteers).
Programmes Organisation of lectures (unless a volunteer is present), catering costs (food, drink at a reception), etc.

It is a good idea to plan the budget for the programme every year, so the organisation’s financial manager can calculate it and make an accounting at the end of the year. The resulting numbers can be useful inputs to organisational planning, application material (presenting facts), annual report, or occasionally making positive press news (e.g. from lessons and the value of volunteering).

This article based on the following document:

Practical Guide for the Establishment and Operation of Volunteer Programmes at Institutions : abridged English version